Life of Bro: A Chronology

Topher Smith is recognized as one of the United States' foremost "bros." The following chronology accompanies The Library of America's recently-published volume of Smith's collected writings.
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Topher Smith is recognized as one of the United States' foremost "bros." The following chronology accompanies The Library of America's recently-published volume of Smith's collected writings.

Born Christopher Napeworthy Smith on June 4 in Alfred, New York, the second child of Benjamin Smith and Claire Abigail Napeworthy. Early on, parents show a fondness for nicknames. Mother, noting his physical resemblance to a fruit tart, calls him, "Sissy Little Pastry." Father, to compensate for what he sees as the femininity of that moniker, refers to the boy as "Chief" or, occasionally, "Pile of Wood Chips."

First tooth arrives - a maxillary lateral incisor - though status-conscious parents describe it to relatives as a bicuspid. Enrolls in Sunny Day Preschool. Family outings to Letchworth State Park, where young Christopher delights in sports and other outdoor games. Chuck Timson, a family friend, visits at Letchworth, presenting the boy with his first polo shirt. "What a douche," the mature Christopher will later recall. Visits Cooperstown.

Father, who over twenty years has risen to a senior management level at Fortro Bunkman, Inc., the manufacturer of luxury rope ladders, is offered a position by a rival company and the family moves to Buffalo. By the time they realize the position is based in Moscow it is too late. Father, unable to put food on the table, puts it in the bathtub instead. Humiliated, he suffers weeklong delusions in which he believes himself to be a binder of textured wallpaper samples. Christopher enrolls in Klovish Elementary School, where he is called "Topher."

Father presents Topher with a gift: a fitted Kansas City Royals baseball cap. Because neither father nor son has any affection for or loyalty to the team, Topher puzzles over the gift, though he will later find it cool for precisely this reason. Friend Tucker Untz creases the brim; Topher declares the angle "perfect." Under Untz's tutelage, begins working out. Purchases khaki shorts.

Attends Brablenbury High School. Works out daily. Maternal grandfather Lucius Napeworthy dies, of swallowing the entire Financial Times. Mother, devastated, attains a beatific incoherence. Asked what she wants for breakfast, she replies, "Peace." Asked how to solve the Middle East conflict, she replies, "More pancakes."

Attends Colgate University. Deeply influenced by philosophy professor Martin Raedeger, a proponent of free will who has instituted an optional attendance policy. "What a douche," Topher will later recall. First kegstand. Develops a strong and abiding interest in semantics. "What is the past tense of bang?" he writes to Untz after intercourse with Emily Wilkes, an attractive, insipid biochemistry major. "Banged? Bung?"

Looks up "douche" in the dictionary. Humbled, he publicly declares a moratorium on its usage.

Emails frequently with Untz, who attends UCLA and sends word of sets, reps and protein shakes. In reply, Topher fervently states interest in "bringing back" several cultural relics, among them the double high five and LA Lights sneakers. When these enthusiasms prove fleeting, the uncompromising Untz suggests that Topher lacks the courage of his convictions; the friendship frays. "Douche" re-enters Topher's vocabulary around this time. While rushing Delta Kappa Epsilon, forms friendship with Rob "Le Petit Flaneur" Dawson, who is popular but widely jeered for his inability to pronounce his own nickname.

Rooms with Dawson in DKE's massive Tudor fraternity house. Bangs Emily Wilkes, now an attractive, insipid history major. During a game of flipcup, Dawson calls him Smitty; the name catches. Begins to drink nearly every night and to write seriously about drinking. Edits Dawson's Rules for Beer Pong, which he prints out, after surveying the document in "print preview," and posts above the house table with great fanfare, and a thumbtack.

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